A strike at Cingular has been averted, at least temporarily, as company and union officials pushed back a contract deadline. But if an agreement isn't reached quickly, nearly 1,000 employees may soon be holding picket signs.
Contract negotiations began almost three weeks ago, but so far neither side is making any concessions. What's on the table? A proposal that union officials are calling "ridiculous." For example, Cingular is asking for reduced wages, a customer service rep would earn $4,000 less. After that a 1% annual pay increase, staying at that same 1% increase for the next 3 to 4 years. And even shifting health care costs to employees.
On Thursday, union reps were so upset with negotiations, that they walked out of the meeting, saying that the offer, "Wasn't worth the paper it was printed on." A union hotline, with a recorded message, told employees that, "Your dedication and hard work obviously mean nothing to Cingular."
A Cingular spokesman declined to comment on negotiations, but said, "We believe our pay and benefits package are generous and competitive,"
This Sunday, union workers will be holding a meeting where pickets signs will be made.